Piecing it Together
Tasmania | Urban
The project aims to create a safe and inclusive gardening space for people of all abilities, encouraging a healthy, active approach to ageing. DIGnity attracts approximately 20 participants a week, many of whom arrive by bus or on foot from nearby aged care facilities. As an active ageing initiative, this project helps to increase rates of physical activity and social connection among older people.
DIGnity is funded until the end of 2020 by the Tasmanian State Government, and is run at two established community gardens in Southeastern Tasmania: Dodges Ferry and Nubeena.
The DIGnity project at Dodges Ferry is located in the community garden associated with the Okines Community House, close to other important community facilities including the primary school, local football clubhouse, and public open space including Lagoon Park - Learning in Nature Precinct and Okines Beach. Being close to these other facilities is important, as it enables easy access for residents and visitors of all ages and abilities.
Participants take part in traditional gardening activities, as well as a range of arts and crafts and cooking activities. Some enjoy getting their hands dirty by watering plants or planting seeds in pots, while others find pleasure in weaving with a fibre artist. Most like to help to harvest and prepare a shared meal.
The DIGnity community garden projects showcase the Healthy Active by Design principle of Healthy Food, with a wide range of produce grown in the gardens. Shared lunches are provided at the end of gardening sessions, with meals using ingredients harvested from the gardens. The activities bring together people of different ages, abilities and backgrounds in a common space and help to generate a sense of place.
The gardening program provides a therapeutic, supportive experience for older residents and people that are differently abled. The program is guided by a professional support team comprising an occupational therapist, a mental health social worker, an artist, a garden coordinator and volunteers.
DIGnity's aim is to improve people's wellbeing and quality of life through the creation of garden communities. These much-loved spaces are welcoming and well-equipped to support people with unique health and social needs. The supportive environment helps alleviate cognitive constraints, while promoting active ageing and reducing the impacts on those who are socially isolated due to chronic conditions, grief or other reasons.